Wednesday, 2 February 2011

A victory for the Premier League?

Monday saw the most dramatic transfer deadline day since its introduction in the 2002-2003 season. Could it also be said that this transfer window was a victory for English football and the Premier League? The past two seasons have seen a dramatic shift in power from the Premier League to Spain’s Primera Liga to become the leading European league. The emergence of Messi at Barcelona and Real Madrid’s ability to buy pretty much anyone – with the exception of Messi – has cemented the Spanish League as the strongest in world football.

It has also coincided with the rise and rise of Spain’s international team and has led to a (justifiable) smugness from the Spanish in their league and national team - they play the best football and have the best players!

So Chelsea’s record smashing signing of Feranando Torres has got to be seen as a victory for the Premier League. It shows that English clubs can still compete with Barca and Real for the games biggest names and shows that the biggest names still want to play in the Premier League. Torres, who is one of the only genuine world class players the right side of thirty left in the Premier League, could easily have made flirtatious glances towards a return to Madrid with Real, or to Inter Milan who appear to be ready to get their cheque book out, or indeed to be re-united with his Spanish striking partner David Villa at Barcelona. Real Madrid are the interesting one here, they are clearly desperate for a new striker as Benzema continues to misfire and Higuain is injured, he would have more than fit the bill and would have lessened their dependence on Christiano Ronaldo.

The last 3 seasons have seen the leading stars from around the world moving to the "Big two" clubs in Spain: Kaka, Ronaldo, Henry, David Villa, Alonso, Benzema etc, whilst the Premiership's clubs have generally bought potential (with the excpetion of Man City) at a reduced price rather than established stars at their peak. The emergence of Man City and their pots of golds distort the picture here slightly, but if we look at the two premiership clubs with the biggest spending power and gravitas over the last ten years it puts it into perspective: Man Utd have only bought "Chicorita" Hernandez & Chris Smalling over the past two years and have not paid more than £10m on a player since Berbatov in 2008, and Chelsea only bought Ramires last season and have (by theior standards) been modest in the transfer market since their acquisition of Andrei Shevchenko in 2006, in fact they haven't spent more than £18m on a player since then.

These figures show that English clubs have not been competing for the best players in the world.
People will baulk at the fantasy money which was being thrown around on Monday night, but surely this is a sign that Premier League clubs still have the ambition and resources to compete for the very best?

This post has been written by Eddy Lascelles specifically for HuntersWorldOfFootball

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